Written by Daniel Barker
Apr 28, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageI ventured out late on a Tuesday night to finally catch up to the west Texas roaming boy Mr. Ryan Bingham. I have been kicking myself in the ass for totally blowing his set off at the 2008 Stingaree Festival. No big deal then –  never heard of him. Then I kept hearing the amazing slide work of “Bread & Water” on KGSR a couple of times a day. I did a little research and found out that the slide lick was laid down by none other than Ex-Black Crow Marc Ford who also produced Bingham’s major label debut album “Mescalito” on Lost Highway Records and I was on point. The Black Crowes “Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” is one of my favorite all time albums and Marc Ford was the major inspiration of that album’s sound.

With the grooves worn well into Mescalito, I was temporarily satisfied. Then RB’s video made it onto CMT’s The Edge of Country as he made his debut appearance on Austin City Limits in February and I had had it. I was catching this guy when he was back in town no matter what. The joke was on this reviewer when that turned out to be a 3 act show at the Warehouse Studio starting at 9 on 4-28-09, a weeknight.

The opening act this night was The Jeff Boortz Band. A standard roots rock group that set the mood off right for the night. The group consist of Jeff Boortz-vocals, guitar; Jarrod Callahan-Bass; Russell Pryor-drums; Randy Wheless-guitar. Ironically, Jeff Boortz had to move to Oregon to make a name for himself in Texas. WOW! He is a main stay opening act right now but maybe with more time can find his way to the top of the marquee.

The second act was The Rustlanders from Pennsylvania and I have to say I was moved by these guys. A group in the tradition of The Band that fills the stage and the room with undeniable good music. The 5 piece act has a great sound and look that should take them far. The large group consists of Jason McIntyre–Acoustic Guitar/Vocals/Mandolin; Chris Rattie–Drums/Acoustic Guitar/Vocals; Corry Drake–Bass/Vocals; Jason Tutwiler–Electric Guitar; John Rattie–Hammond B-3/ Fender Rhodes/Vocals. I recommend picking up their self titled album if you get a chance. Similar to The Band of Heathens, it is hard not to feel like these guys are going somewhere. Glad to see that people like Ryan Bingham are supporting these two talents. Good for him.

Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses made it to the stage for a nice set to a decent crowd. It did seem a little stripped down without all the people and gear from The Rustlanders onstage. The makeup of this outfit is Ryan Bingham-vocals, guitar; Matthew Smith-Drums; Corby Schaub-Guitar, Mandolin and Marc Ford’s Son – Elijah Ford-bass.

RB came out donning a velvet sport coat, road-worn 10-gallon hat, crusty jeans and Chucks singing his songs that paint pictures of the desolate and dusty road that RB had been down. The 28 year olds unique voice paints vivid pictures with his lyrics that are often generic and cliché. You can still feel RB is not all that comfortable in front of fans. He seems like a guy that would seem a lot more at ease playing and singing while sitting on a tailgate drinking beer and smoking a cig after doing a bump.

The highlights of the night were “Ghost of Travelin’ Jones”, “Southside of Heaven”, “The Other Side” and “Hard Times”. RB did Marc Ford justice on “Bread & Water” too playing the lead slide riff his Danelectro. The Dead Horses are a solid back bone and seem like a good traveling’ group. A fiddle player kept popping in and I swear it is the guy that played with Robert Earl Keen all those years but who knows. RB stretched out and played mandolin and harp to show he has more than the average bear.

RB showed his softer side and received some rare respect from the audience at this venue during his acoustic set which included “Don’t Wait For Me” and “Ever Wonder Why”. I have to say the most smoking tune of the night for me was “ Take It Easy Mama”….I like Ryan Bingham and he put on a good show that was worth the wait…I just hope he makes it to town on a weekend night next time… See you guys out supporting live music.